Broward commissioner targets election smear campaigns

Tired of dirty election campaigns? So is a Broward commissioner, who says it’s time to hold candidates accountable again if they smear their opponents with false claims.

The task would be given to a nonpartisan fair campaign practices committee, which would investigate complaints against local election campaigns and censure candidates who aren’t truthful in campaign mailers, election commercials, telephone solicitations or other campaign-related materials.

“The purpose of this is not to punish bad behavior. It’s to prevent bad behavior,” Broward Commissioner Steve Geller said. If candidates know they could be called out publicly for sleazy tactics, they might think twice before engaging in actions that won’t stand up to closer scrutiny, he said.

It’s too late to put a committee in place for the current election season, but Geller would like to see one up and running for the 2020 elections. Commissioners will decide Sept. 13 if they want the county attorney to draft an ordinance for them to consider to create a committee.

The committee likely would only deal with Broward city or county races and state senate and representative races where all or a majority of a district is within the county.

It’s not a new idea for Geller or the county.

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